Yes, I'm still working on that "origins of ISIS" piece. I hope to have something up today or tomorrow. The topic is huge -- in fact, it demands a whole book. In the meantime...
Why did Chad scoot?
It's the great political guessing game of the day. Why did Kansas Democrat Chad Taylor drop out of the race for the Senate? The Wichita Eagle has the fullest story
One's first thought goes to the idea of a skeletonized closet. However, it seems more likely that Taylor has simply done the honorable -- and pragmatic -- thing. Republican incumbent Pat Roberts was set to face two challengers: Democrat Chad Taylor and independent Greg Orman, a former Democrat. Orman has money, social media headwind, and some surprisingly good numbers:
Orman would lead Roberts 43 percent to 33 percent in a head-to-head race, according to an August poll from Public Policy Polling.
Another poll from SurveyUSA showed Orman was attracting voters from across the political spectrum.
On the national level, the Dems desperately needed to see an upset somewhere
on the board. I therefore suspect that Dem bigwigs put pressure on Taylor to drop out. Presumably, some sort of consolation prize was offered.
Orman says that he stands for financial responsibility and lowering government debt and yada yada yada
. Any political candidate in Kansas is more or less required to recite those lines. But -- and this is key -- Orman also insists that he will never go along with the now-standard Republican tactic of threatening to shut down the government every time the debt ceiling needs to be raised.
“But with that said, if I’m faced with the choice between defaulting on our debt and keeping our government open, I choose sanity.
“I’m a pro-sanity candidate,” he added.
He's got my
vote. Or he would have, if I hailed from Dorothy's state.
Is Elizabeth Warren running?
Someone sent me a link to an article (which I'm too lazy to look up at the moment) which quotes Warren singing the praises of Israel while offering the usual "right to defend itself" yada yada. She's no good
, sayeth my correspondent.
I interpreted her words another way: Looks like she's thinking of higher office.
And now we have this
"ISIS is growing in strength. It has money, it has organization, it has the capacity to inflict real damage. So when we think about a response we have to think about how to destroy that," Warren told Yahoo's Katie Couric.
Warren agreed that "time is of the essence."
"We need to be working now, full-speed ahead, with other countries, to destroy ISIS. That should be our No. 1 priority," she said in a wide-ranging interview promoting her latest book, A Fighting Chance.
Note the studious silence about Saudi funding of ISIS. Note the book to promote. She's starting to sound like a candidate, eh wot?
Some of you may be thinking: But what good is her candidacy if all she has to offer is the same-old yada yada?
First: Warren has taken some very progressive stances when it comes to the financial industry. Second: The hard fact is that you can't get anywhere near the nomination unless you say certain things and refrain from saying certain other things. If you withhold your vote until an uncompromised presidential candidate comes along, you'll be waiting your whole life. Reality check: There's an Israel-firster named Saban who tosses a lot of money at the Dems, and an Israel-firster named Adelson who tosses a ton of loot at the Rs. I don't think any
politician can stand against that kind of cash tsunami.
Which, in a roundabout way, brings us to...
A libertarian confesses. Dustin Petzold's piece
is amusing and very informative, although Petzold himself seems to be the kind of fellow with whom I would not want to share the proverbial beer. His primary target is the cult of Ron Paul. He calls Paul's more zealous supporters Discipauls
, although less charitable folk use the term Paultards
These passages struck me as quite revealing:
I made my way through a revolving door of internships on Capitol Hill and at nonprofits. It was in a congressional office that I became acutely aware of a group of people I call “Discipauls,” and learned just how troublesome they could be. I want to be clear that a mere Ron Paul supporter is often completely different from a Discipaul. Plenty of people are sympathetic to the anti-establishment former congressman, and with good reason, but few of them reach the Discipauls’ level of kookery. The Discipauls could not go a day without bringing their faxes and phone calls to the interns’ attention. Their messages of “Hey, vote for this bill because Ron Paul supports it!” or “All of the presidential candidates not named Ron Paul are guilty of treason!” were relentless.
Sometimes, on rare days when internship-related drudgery hadn’t caused me to glaze over, I would challenge and debate the Discipauls (this was explicitly not to be part of my job description – oops). There was a consistent lack of constitutional literacy and current events knowledge emanating from their end of the phone line. One lady called me, practically out of breath over the fact that Obamacare would “mandate microchip implantation for all citizens.
One would think that the craziest Discipauls would be limited to the type of people who had nothing better to do but call their representative on weekday afternoons, but a surprising number of these people showed up in nonprofit offices and at professional networking events.
The lesson I glean from these words differs from that which Petzold probably intends.
The fact that so many Paultards are willing to put that kind of pressure on our congress-critters informs us that those who dwell with Paul's sector of far-right Crazyland have not given up on the system. They are willing to play the game. They think that they can win
Compare that "can do" attitude to the pseudo-hip cynicism expressed with distressing regularity on liberal blogs. I have no doubt that the faux-hipster battalions will sound that theme in the comments section appended to this very post:
"Both parties are corrupt. The system is hopeless. Don't even try. Don't support anyone who isn't 100 percent pure. No donations. Stay home on election day. Voting only encourages them."
Do many of these remarks originate with Republican ratfuckers and astroturfers? C'mon. Grow up. Of course
I mention all of this because...
The Republicans are favored to take the Senate. Most people
think that their advantage is slight, but I'm not so sure...
Whether the Democrats can keep the game close to the end, or whether the Republicans will build an even larger advantage, turns on one big question about the national environment: Is 2014 a fairly neutral year in which Republicans hold an edge because races are mainly being fought in Republican-held states, or is it also a bad year for Democrats, who might face a “wave” election like the ones that brought Democrats to power in 2006 and swept them away in 2010? The answer hinges in part on whether the G.O.P.'s unpopularity is enough to mitigate the expected backlash against President Obama.
This year, the two metrics are not so interchangeable. Mr. Obama’s approval ratings are stuck in the low 40s — around 42 percent, according to the Huffington Post’s Pollster tracker. That’s lower than at this time in 2010, so it’s easy to see why so many have taken the president’s ratings as a sign of an impending catastrophe for Democrats.
The generic ballot, on the other hand, puts the Democrats ahead by about 2 points among registered voters. That’s nothing like 2010, when the Republicans had opened a 3-point lead on the generic ballot by early September after making steady gains over the summer.
This assessment is, I think, a bit too optimistic. Nevertheless, I am rooting for the Dems to win. Why? First and foremost is the matter discussed above: Those infuriating debt ceiling games that the Republicans have played and will continue to play. In this area, nearly all Dems -- including Obama -- have behaved rationally. The Rs, by contrast, have been totally fucking nuts.
I have a middle digit extended to all who sneer and snarl: "Bah! Those debt ceiling confrontations are completely unimportant. It's all nothing but theater."
Are you people insane?
I have another middle digit extended to those who want
the whole political and financial system to collapse. These cheerleaders for chaos think that the Day of Ragnarok will surely be followed by Libertarian Paradise. Or by Socialist Paradise. Every fool has an individualized version of Fool's Paradise.
If I had a third hand, I would extend another middle digit to those who are now dying to send me their INEVITABLE
and INCREDIBLY PREDICTABLE
yada yadas abut why it is unacceptable to favor one party over the other. Look, we already know the drill:
Both parties are the same and you're an idiot if you donate one dime to the Dems and you should just stay home on election day. In fact, you should just spend the rest of your life doing nothing but sitting in your robe while making snarky remarks on the internet, because THAT's incredibly useful. But for god's sake, never ever ever say one kind word about any Dem anywhere. Because Obama because Israel because Ukraine because Syria because yada yada.
I advise you not to bother typing out all of that yada yada, since we all know what you are going to say before you say it. But you're going to say it anyways, aren't you? Hey, I understand. Times are tough, and a ratfucker's gotta eat. So yada your yadas and cash your check.
Hey ratfuckers: Can you come up with a truly new
variant of an ancient line -- "The lesser of two evils is still evil"? C'mon. Don't just regurgitate the familiar. Put some thought into it. If your phrasing is clever, I'm less likely to give you a spanking.